I’m starting to get overwhelmed by how many great mouthpieces are out there today. This morning I received a box from Aaron Drake at Drake Mouthpieces. I couldn’t open it fast enough. Inside were 3 brand new vintage resin alto saxophone mouthpieces for me to try. I’ve been wanting to try these for months now and I was very excited. The first one I played was this one. It is the contemporary model and has a 6 tip opening (.080). It has a high long baffle in it that scoops into the chamber sort of like a Berg or RPC mouthpiece would. There’s no edges on the decline of the baffle into the chamber. The high baffle gives this mouthpiece a brighter, punchier sound that is great for modern playing…………………..
Drake Contemporary Alto Saxophone Mouthpiece
The tip and rails of this mouthpiece are perfect. The tip curve matches my Vandoren Java reeds perfectly. The baffle is high and long as you can see in the pictures and is completely even. The chamber has a smooth horse shoe shape to it that reminds me of some hard rubber Berg Larsen’s and RPC’s I have played. I’m not sure what size the chamber is? It looks to be the same size as a medium Meyer. The difference is that the baffle extends into the chamber and then slopes down into it. The mouthpiece as a nice copper band around the shank end and the engravings on it are neat and nice to look at.
You can make your own decision from listening to the clip, but I would place this mouthpieces tone in the brighter end of the spectrum. It’s not as bright as some other alto mouthpieces I have tried but it’s getting close. I like the fact that you can back off of it with your air and it mellows out a bit. This has a great tone for that modern Sanborn type sound that so many alto players love. I play a few jazz lines on it also and it sounds great with those also…….just a little brighter to me. When listening to the clip try to imagine a little bit of reverb and effects on the sound. I recorded it with no effects to taint the sound but if I were playing this live on a gig I would be sure to have the soundman put some nice effects on this to sweeten it up even more.
Intonation was great with this mouthpiece and within normal limits. My Selmer Reference alto saxophone has a tendency to go sharper on middle D,Eb and E when I play high baffled mouthpieces and it was sharper on those notes. That’s not a big deal though as I am used to bringing those notes down in pitch anyways.
This was a very easy mouthpiece to play and control. It is very even sounding up and down the horn. The altissimo notes were much easier on this mouthpiece because of the higher baffle.
Powerful! I could feel it when I blew in it. Even at a medium air flow it was LOUD! When I pushed it, it was even louder! I could push as much air as I wanted through this piece. I actually had to take a step back from the microphone because it was recording so “hot”.
Great job Aaron Drake! If you are curious about trying Aaron’s mouthpiece you can visit his website at www.DrakeMouthpieces.com for more information.